7FT Fat Bar

Normally $189.00




The Benefits Of Thick Bar Training

There has recently been something of a re-discovery of thick bar training; a training style which Old-Time Strongmen knew all about and used to great effect but which has almost been forgotten in modern times.
In this article, we will examine how thick bar training works, why it is now used by bodybuilders, NFL teams and Special Forces soldiers and why it can make a BIG difference to YOUR muscle and strength gains.

What Is Thick Bar Training?
If you are not familiar with thick bars, they are simply barbells, dumbbells and pull-up bars with a much thicker handle. A standard barbell, dumbbell, or pull-up bar typically has a handle with a diameter of about 1 inch. A thick bar will often have a diameter of more like 2.5 inches (some look more like truck axles) and if you have ever picked one up you will know that it feels completely different. A recent article contained a comment by a very experienced powerlifter who had recently switched to thick bars. He said: it was like picking up weights for the first time again. Many lifters report a similar experience. So, thick bar training simply means using a thick barbell, thick dumbbells and thick chin-up bar in your usual training program.

The History Of Thick Bar Training
Thick bar training was born by accident really. In the old days, there was no such thing as a standard barbell and good quality training equipment was often hard to find. You could not just drive down to your local gym equipment store and pick up a set of free weights.

So, old time strongmen either had to have their equipment custom made or improvise and fashion their equipment out of what they could find in scrap yards. This made for some interesting equipment and is the reason for the famous challenges they performed like the Wheels of Appollon (railway wheels) and the Thomas Inch Dumbbell.
The turn of the century strongmen, many of whom were much stronger than most of our modern champions, were well acquainted with the incredible effect of thick bar work. They thrived on it. Thick bar work is thought to be one of the reasons that they were able to develop levels of upper body power and muscularity which are almost difficult to believe.

Thick Bar Training Today
Now, in the modern day, thick bar training is relatively unknown among the mainstream fitness crowd but it is widely used by the military and elite athletes and more and more people, especially bodybuilders, are discovering its benefits.
The recent re discovery of thick bar training can be attributed in large part to its use by many of todays most highly respected strength coaches who have revived it to great effect with their elite athletes. Here is what some of them have to say about it:

Charles Poliquin, trainer of over 400 Olympic athletes: I am a big believer in using thick-handled barbells, dumbbells and apparatus such as pull up bars. The results are well worth the investment, as they will produce superior results in strength training.

Dave Tate, world famous powerlifter: Once you go fat [thick, fat bar training], you will never go back. Brooks Kubik, author of legendary training manual, Dinosaur Training: Using a thick handled bar is one of the very best things you can do to develop maximum muscular size and strength. The thick bar work allowed them [old time strong men] to develop levels of upper body power virtually incomprehensible to those who train only with regular bars. Joe Pro-Maker Defranco, world famous strength coach who has worked with players on all 32 NFL teams: Invest in a thick bar and do all of your exercises with it. I have every thick barbell and cable attachment known to mankind at my gym.

How And Why Does It Work?
The interesting thing about thick bars is that many people (understandably) have trouble seeing how something as simple as switching to a thick bar can supposedly unlock such major muscle and strength gains, not just in the hands and forearms, but throughout the whole body. That understandable skepticism might change the first time you use a thick bar. In fact, you may want to take it easy the first time. Many trainees report that their forearms and biceps are sore to the touch for days after the first time using with a thick bar. There are several reasons why they work so well:

1) Irradiation and harder muscle contractions
Thicker handles stimulate far more muscle activation in the hands and forearms and in the upper arms and whole upper body. How does working the hands and forearms harder increase muscle and strength gains in the whole upper body? It works by the principle of irradiation. When you contract a muscle hard, the muscles around it contract as well. Therefore, to get a maximal contraction in your biceps, for example, you need to get your forearms contracting maximally too. Let me demonstrate. Try flexing your bicep as hard as possible without making a fist. Now try and flex your bicep as hard as possible while making as tight a fist as possible and squeezing. You should be able to contract your bicep much harder when making a tight fist. If you flex your forearms hard enough you will begin to feel tension not just in your arms, but in your shoulders, chest and back. This is called irradiation. What is happening is that the nerve impulses of surrounding muscles can amplify the effect of that muscle. Because thick bars make your hands and forearms work harder, the contractions in other muscles including the biceps and triceps and even the muscles in the shoulders, back and chest, will contract much harder which means more strength and more muscle. You can use a standard bar and squeeze it hard but this doesnt work the way a thick bar does. If you grip a standard bar hard while doing something like bench presses you will begin to feel the effects of irradiation. The problem is that gripping a regular bar is really easy and its small diameter makes it very difficult to squeeze it hard.
The great thing about thick bar training is that you have no choice but to grip the bar hard because its hard to hold on to. If you use a weak grip doing thick bar pull ups, for instance, you simply will not be able to hold onto the bar. When you do pressing movements, you will be able to generate a better squeeze and more tension onto the bar compared to a thin bar. This will allow you to use the irradiation principle to the max. You will be able to lift more in the military press, bench press, etc.
Of course, more muscle activation means significantly bigger muscle and strength gains.

2) Weak links (and neural inhibition) eliminated
Your body is highly sophisticated. It has protective mechanisms built-in to minimize the risk of imbalance and injury. Therefore, it will hold back the strength and size of some muscles if it detects that other muscles around it are too weak. This is known as neural inhibition.
This is one reason that successful powerlifters work hard to build huge, powerful back muscles; to improve their bench press. Sounds counter intuitive at first but training your back pulling muscles gets you stronger on your front pushing muscles. They do this because they know that their body needs that balance and stability to get stronger.
Thick bars make your hands, fingers and forearms so much stronger that your body can finally stop holding back the muscle and strength gains in your upper arms, back and chest.

3) Training at all angles automatically
Thick bar training automatically trains your hands, fingers and forearms at all angles. If you are bench pressing, the thick bar will train your hands and forearms in a completely different way than if you are doing chin ups on a thick bar. Other grip training methods like grippers can be useful too but they are one-dimensional, training the hands and forearms in the same way over and over which can potentially lead to imbalances and injury.
Thick bars also perfectly replicate the natural function of the human hand i.e. lifting heavy, awkward objects. Humans have evolved to use their hands to climb trees and rock faces, carry logs and animals. Thick bars are a great way of replicating this.

4) Grip training no longer an afterthought
Training the grip, hands and forearms has often been relegated to an afterthought. Most trainees have thrown in a few wrist extensions or grip exercises after a training session. With thick bars, you are training your grip and forearms the whole time and you dont even need to do any extra exercises.

5) Concentration / focus
Because thick bars are harder to handle, you need to concentrate a lot harder to lift the weight. Some credit this alone with making them significantly stronger.Thick bars are more difficult to control. Compared to an Olympic barbell, a bar with a 2 inch or 3 inch diameter seems like a log. Imagine bench pressing, military pressing and deadlifting a telephone pole! That's what it feels like when you use a thick bar. You cannot rely purely on style, form, timing or technique to complete a lift. You have to do it with sheer strength.

6) Less stress on joints, less injuries, less imbalances
This is an interesting one. Many people use thick bar training because of how fast it adds muscle to their body compared to standard bars.

It is also interesting to note, though, how many lifters report that thick bar training has actually cured (and presumably therefore, prevented) all types of injuries including wrist, elbow and shoulders issues.



Add on

Add a pair of Spring Collars (+ $5.00)

Add a pair of Olympic Nylon Collars (+ $20.00)
  • Barbell rating of 880lbs = 400kg.
  • Net weight of the barbell is 17.7kg.
  • Barbell dimensions are 2120mm long x Ø50mm shaft size.
  • End sleeves to suit Olympic plates
  • Has centre knurl on this bar
  • Black Oxide coated shaft provides a durable maintenance free finish to the barbell. 
  • The barbell is supplied in a protective cardboard tube
Delivery details and options
  • Please provide us a business or home address suitable for a 9am-5pm Mon - Fri delivery (Ground floor delivery allowed for).
  • Ensure that someone will be available to receive, and assist with delivery if heavy items are involved.
  • We cannot advise the exact day and time delivery will occur, however we will email you the tracking details and the freight company contact details and they can provide you a better estimation of the time.

IMPORTANT: Orders will not be shipped until we receive special delivery instructions and have a shipping address, so please ensure you provide these to ensure no delay.

If you are not able or certain you can receive delivery in person between 9am – 5pm Mon - Fri, the alternative options are:

Authority to Leave

Please provide your instructions in the Special Delivery Notes field on check out page to leave your order in a specific place e.g 'Please leave around the back of house behind the bins.'

Note - if you authorise your order to be left in a specific place, there can be no claims for damaged or missing items

Depot Pickup

If you would like to pick up the order from your local freight depot you can select this option and we will notify you of the courier depot details for your area.


If you require delivery to a residential address and your order contains any single boxed items over 50kg, or combination of heavy/large items : (over 250kg), a tail lift service will likely be required and costs $139.The tail lift charge is not included in the shipping calculator on this website and needs to be added to the total if the service is required. Please contact us if you are unsure whether this service will be required for your order.

The following situations can be exempt from tail lift charges:

  • Deliveries to Sydney addresses where the receiver can organise manual unload.
  • Deliveries to business addresses with forklift access.
  • Deliveries to local depots for customer pick up, please ask us for the closest depot if you are in a regional/remote area.
  • An order to a residential address weighing up to 250kg, where no single boxed item exceeds 50kg.

Please note: Sometimes in the event that a tail lift truck is not available, the freight carrier will hand unload the heavy items off the truck. Hand unload by the freight carrier is covered by the tail lift surcharge if the tail lift service is not available.

  • Net weight of the barbell is 20.0kg.
  • 2120mm long
  • Barbell shaft is 1310mm long between internal flange of end sleeves.
  • End sleeves to suit Olympic plates are Ø50mm
  • Ring markings are spaced at 810mm meeting International Powerlifting Standards, with a moderate knurling applied, including centre knurling.
  • Black Oxide coated shaft for increase grip

1.  Once your product is added to cart, click View Cart.

2. Enter your postcode at cart to see shipping costs.

Make an enquiry

Add To Wishlist

  • Currently 0 star out of 5
  (0 customer reviews)

Share your thoughts with other customers

Create your own review

Olympic Safety Squat Bar

Normally $349.00

  • Currently 0 star out of 5
 (0 customer )
100kg Black Bumper Plate Set (Package Price)

Normally $475.00

  • Currently 0 star out of 5
 (0 customer )
Pair of 20kg Cast Iron Machined Olympic Plates

Normally $160.00

  • Currently 0 star out of 5
 (0 customer )
Shopping Cart

Add your postcode in the cart to initiate the shipping calculator, rates will then calculate here as you add/remove products.



Login|View Cart
1300 488 866

9am - 5pm

Gym Equipment

> Weights
> Strength Equipment
> Fitness Equipment

Gym Packages

> Home Gym
> Commercial Gym
> Crossfit Gym


Unit 1, No. 3 Resolution Drive. Caringbah, NSW 2229

Business Hours: 

Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

Saturday: 9am - 3pm 

Phone: 1300 488 866       Fax:  02 9525 6739     

Sales & product enquiries: sales@gymdirect.com.au

Warranty enquiries: warranty@gymdirect.com.au



© 2013 Gym Direct
Preloaded imagePreloaded image